When gaining weight, what you want to do is build lean muscle. Since you don’t need to lose fat, nutrition plays an important part in gainin it the healthy way.
What should you be eating PRE workout?
When you wake up in the morning you start the day off hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) as you haven’t eaten for up to 10 hours. Training on an empty stomach in this state means your workouts are fuelled by the glycogen stored in your muscles as well as your body’s own lean muscle mass. The purpose of training should be to increase lean muscle mass to improve your metabolism, so morning training on an empty stomach would be counteracting this process.
Although you shouldn’t be running on empty, you don’t necessarily want a lot of food in your stomach either. The best time to work out is two to four hours after eating, depending on how large a meal you’ve eaten. If you work out first thing in the morning, a piece of fruit or a vegetable juice is an ideal pre-workout snack.
What should you be eating POST workout?
To allow your body optimum recovery, you need a snack or meal containing carbohydrates and protein within two hours of exercising. Straight after exercise, blood flow is still increased to working muscle. Supplying immediate sources of protein and carbohydrates to the body begins the repairing, rebuilding and refueling phases your body needs to avoid the breaking down of precious muscle mass.
Contrary to normal dietary recommendations, higher GI foods are recommended directly after exercise. This allows for the quick digestion your body needs to refuel muscle glycogen. Dates, brown pasta, bananas and potatoes are all good choices. Steer clear of fibre directly after your workout, as these will slow down digestion rather than help refuel the body.
Lean white meats, eggs, low fat dairy sources, beans and soy are all high in protein. Whey protein power is a particularly good choice as it is one of the few proteins that have a 100% absorption rate.
Should your post workout meal differ according to your type of training?
After all moderate to hard workouts, the intake of carbohydrates and proteins is always necessary. If your workout is cardio-based or moderate resistance training like running or cycling i.e. working your heart, you will need to take in more carbohydrates. If your workout is mainly strength training, you are working your muscles and will therefore require more protein.